On October 26, Oakland, CA police attacked nonviolent protesters with tear gas, flash grenades, beanbag shotguns, and rubber bullets. Officers also threatened use of unspecified "chemical agents."
Veterans Against War member Scott Olsen sustained a serious skull fracture when struck on the head by a tear gas canister. Children, elderly and disabled bystanders were affected. Police helicopters patrolled overhead.
America's violence roots are deep. Wars are glorified in the name of peace. Pacifism is considered sissy and unpatriotic. Among Western nations, its homicide rate is highest. Gun owning is considered an inalienable right.
Violent films, video games and sports are some of its most popular. With good reason, its society is called a "rape culture." Constitutionally guaranteed human rights, civil liberties, common dignity and personal safety are more illusion than fact.
"Indispensable state" credentials, exceptionalism, and moral superiority are manipulated false notions to force our ways on others globally.
Kids are weaned on violence. Television and films feature it. Before age 18, the average child watches 200,000 violent acts, including 16,000 murders. Moreover, studies show homicide rates doubled 10 - 15 years after television was introduced. What better way to teach how to kill, beat, brawl and abuse.
Some kids grow up to be cops. From pre-adolescence they've been conditioned to accept violence as normal. They're used to it when asked to quash dissent.
Americans' Free Expression Right to Dissent
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) advances and protects constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. It creatively uses law "as a positive force for social change."
In October 2011, it issued a report titled, "Restore. Protect. Expand: The Right to Dissent," saying:
US history is littered with repressive laws "at the expense of constitutional protections and civil liberties." The 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts restricted First Amendment freedoms.
So did 1919 anti-communist Palmer raids, the 1934 Special Committee on Un-American Activities, its House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) successor, secret FBI COINTELPRO crackdowns, the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the 2001 USA Patriot Act, and other post-9/11 measures.
These and other police state measures expanded government surveillance, eroded habeas rights, formalized military tribunals, permitted torture-extracted confessions, and sanctified violence in the name of national security.
As a result, nonviolent civil disobedience can be called terrorism. Patriot Act provisions criminalized dissent. Innocent people have been arrested, indicted and imprisoned for pursuing their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Using so-called "terrorist profiles," the FBI can investigate anyone for any reason. So can local police working cooperatively with them or alone.
Abrogating constitutional rights entirely may come next. Occupying America against financial terrorism and corporate greed can be criminalized. America's right to dissent is endangered.